World News to Close Westport Location
The magazine store will shut its doors Dec. 31.
After 37 years of serving local book and magazine lovers, World News in Maryland Heights is closing its doors.
Owner Lauren Baxter said her business has suffered a decline in revenue. Online media's popularity, a sluggish economy and the store's location also lead to the closing, Baxter said. The shop, located in Westport Plaza, will close its doors on Dec. 31.
St. Louis' other World News location in Clayton will remain open for business.
"We're hoping our core of customers we have here will go to Clayton to pick up their specialty magazines," Baxter said. "About 50 percent of our customers are long term customers."
Over the years the business thrived on meeting the needs of those who read the newspapers of other major metropolitan markets, like the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times and the Washington Post. But that customer base has declined with the internet's growth.
"We've stopped carrying out of town newspapers," Baxter said. "With the internet, people can get what they want exactly when they want it."
From the time the business started in 1973 to 2007, World News was located on the first floor of the Westport mall. Baxter said the malls' owners forced her to move the business to the second floor three years ago to make room for Ice Kitchen. She said the new location led to a decrease in customer awareness of World News since it's not as close to the malls' parking lot or hotels.
Golub, the management company that handles Westport, could not comment by press time on World News' inside location.
World News lost 100 customers a day in the move, Baxter said.
Baxter and her former husband Bob started the store together 37 years ago while both worked for the Southwestern Bell telephone company. She remembers those years fondly.
"This was a great place to be," Baxter said. "There were lots of little shops, an art gallery and lots of nice gift shops. There were lots of good restaurants and a deli."
She said St. Louis area real estate developer Tom White developed the mall in the early years and handpicked the businesses that fit his vision for the mall. Baxter said the developer gave tenants reasonable rents.
Like any small business owner, Baxter has seen the economic recession's affects grip the country.
"The customer that used to come in and spend $25 dollars on a magazine comes in and spends $10," Baxter said.
Baxter's family has been around the retailing business for years. Lauren's mother Roberta Selvidge started the first World News in Clayton in 1967. Selvidge bought a newspaper distribution business from a street vendor and then purchased a 16 foot-by-16 foot storefront for an indoor location. She soon started offering magazines to customers.
There was also a Word News in Town and Country, owned by Baxter's sister Ann Porter. That branch was open from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s. A downtown location, owned by Baxter's other sister Sue Selvidge, was open from the mid -1980s to the early 1990s.